Clayton is a graduate of Eastern Kentucky University and brings nearly 15 years of golf course management experience to the turf program. He is a member of the Golf Course Superintendents Association of America and is on the Board of Directors of the Kentuckiana Golf Course Superintendents Association. In this new role, he will collaborate closely with extension and research faculty, regional and local extension personnel, industry representatives and other stakeholders state-wide.
“Turfgrass is ubiquitous across Kentucky,” Clayton said. “The renowned turfgrass professor Dr. A.J. Powell said, ‘In the Transition Zone, we can grow all grasses equally poor.’ Successfully growing warm or cool season grasses is difficult in Kentucky. Therefore, I am delighted to be part of UK’s extension efforts to help turfgrass managers effectively grow grass across the state!”
The UK Turfgrass Science program is part of the University of Kentucky College of Agriculture Food and Environment Department of Plant & Soil Sciences and is made up of experts in turfgrass management, weed science, plant pathology, entomology, and soil and water management. The program provides research-based information to support, sports turf and golf course managers, lawn and landscape professionals, sod growers and others involved in the turfgrass industry. In addition to Clayton, the Kentucky Turfgrass Science team includes UK cooperative extension service agents: Andy Rideout (Henderson County), Jason Vaughn (Powell) and Beth Wilson (Pulaski).
The program also recently received a $15,000 industry donation from the Kentucky Horticulture Council. KHC works closely with the UK Turfgrass Science program, supporting research, education and outreach programs that benefit green industry professionals.
“The Kentucky green industry has a market value of over $9 billion and employs more than 26,000 Kentuckians in urban and rural areas,” KHC executive director Dr. Cindy Finneseth said. “Our industry relies heavily on the science-based, environmentally sound recommendations from Extension professionals that result in high-quality, safe, and sustainable residential areas and playing surfaces for sports.”
The UK Turfgrass Science program and KHC co-host the annual Kentucky Turf & Landscape Management Short Course that brings together industry professionals for comprehensive turfgrass and landscape management education. The 2023 Short Course will be February 21-23 at the Hardin County Extension Center in Elizabethtown, Kentucky.
“With continued growth of the green industry in Kentucky, we are committed to supporting the turfgrass professionals across the state,” said Dr. Rebecca McCulley, chair of the Department of Plant and Soil Sciences. “Hiring Kenneth to support the industry, KHC’s donation, and our collaboration in hosting the Short Course are examples of the strong, mutually beneficial tie between UK and our industry partners.”